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Miscellaneous RPGs

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I thought it would be appropriate to start a new thread for RPG fans such as myself to post our findings as we sample the vast numbers of RPGS, SRPGS, rogue likes, visual-books-with-RPG-elements or other similar games which don't warrant threads of their own.

I'll kick it off with two offerings:

Blackguards (Mac, direct)

I'm into the third act or chapter of this but I'm not sure I will be picking it up again any time soon. It's an out and out SRPG using the German P&P Demonic Eye rule set, although it has a story arc of sorts and side quests (which pretty well all culminate in a battle). There is no exploration at all, with each town simply a static screen to enable services etc. Character development is however strong since any character can be developed in different ways, although to use spells you have to decide on mage from the start. Battles vary enormously in both difficulty and interest. The best ones feature puzzle or environmental aspects which help make them more satisfying (e.g massive fire spewing cogs which need to be redirected by one of your team to prevent a captive from being fried). Combat can however be frustrating since spells have a high degree of failure, and can also be rather tedious since the same power moves and spells are spammed over and over. Finally, gear is pretty uninteresting up to this point and the frequent "restarts" to date, where your familiar set ups are stripped away, have not helped build any sense of development. The game seems 100% stable but I have no idea why 18Gig are required.

I know the second Blackguards game has tweaked things a bit (e.g. having a stamina meter to equate to the astral energy one) but is currently reported as buggy.

Lords of Xulima (Mac via Steam)

I'm really enjoying this one. It's an indie from a Spanish developer (hence "Shoolimarr") and it satisfies my need to explore in-between battles. It is punishingly hard though, not so much from combat, which is still pretty challenging in places, but from the survival mechanic. Your team have to eat, food (mostly) costs cash and resting for long periods is the only way to heal and revive team members, but it consumes food. On top of this, if you decide to save money by popping back to town and staying at the inn, you will be charged 100g toll to enter. After a few hours play I realised the problem is all about efficiency in combat and restarted with a new team (you play as the explorer plus 5 team members of your choice covering the usual bases, 3 back row and 3 melee types). I thereby managed to complete the first map much more efficiently and actually bought a few weapons or armour items as well (loot exists out there but a team of six need a lot of gear). If that sounds a bit smug, I fell into exactly the same trap yesterday whilst exploring the cellars of the first castle and had to restart a section over... ( a hungry team is more or less game over) Whilst exploring there are simple bulletin board quests to complete, plus dungeons with hidden doors, traps, locks to pick, mazes to complete, deadly fungi to navigate around...And if its dark, torches are essential (and torches cost cash of course). Combat is represented simplistically as two rows of 3 versus the enemies, you don't see your guys only their weapons or spell effects. It's a meaty system though and reminds me of those old school JRPGs with all the various status effects which seem to have been removed from many modern games, bleed, sick, curse, injured etc. Also, like JRPGs there are random encounters but these can be avoided up to point anyway. The game looks gorgeous in its isometric presentation. Little story, no meaningful NPC interaction, but lots of content here for sure.

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I started LOX about a month ago but coming off the back of stuff like DOS and WL2 I felt it was lacking polish. The building just being images instead of objects really put me off.

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Great thread idea!

I actually really liked Blackguards. It can be rather punishing though, there are a few horrendous difficulty spikes, but so long as you specialise characters and use their strengths the battle system is quite rewarding (hint - get at least one person to know the Move as Lightning up to level 3 - it allows 2 actions per turn). I liked the story, too, and the structure (no overworld exploration per se). I have the second game which I had pre-ordered for a very reasonable price (£14) but haven't started it yet.

I also have Lords of Xulima, but haven't started it yet. I didn't realise it was as punishing as you describe, though. It does look very nice, as you say.

I'd throw the Van Helsing titles in here - interesting ARPGs. I've only played a couple of hours of the second game so far, but it has improved on the scope of the first game.

I'm also currently playing Demonicon, another title set in the Dark Eye universe. It's very much a Euro-RPG, with janky combat expected, but it's decent enough so far (I picked it up ages ago for about £4, and it's also been in bundles before - I would never have paid the £30 Steam is charging). One of the little touches that I quite like is that the passive 'world skills' you can level-up (such as Legend Lore, Blacksmithing and Medicine) not only help in picking up items/disabling traps/creating weapons etc, but also offer additional dialogue options if you meet the skill check, which grants additional items and XP.

In terms of stuff coming up there are a few indie titles I have on my wishlist:Darkest Dungeon (which looks great), a rogue-like dungeon crawler, The Age of Decadence (a mish-mash of a fantasy world based on the fall of the Roman Empire, set in an isometric, turn-based combat rule-set) and I'm keeping an eye on Massive Chalice, too.

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I thought it would be appropriate to start a new thread for RPG fans such as myself to post our findings as we sample the vast numbers of RPGS, SRPGS, rogue likes, visual-books-with-RPG-elements or other similar games which don't warrant threads of their own.

Anything good enough warrants a thread of its own, if it doesn't then it's probably not good enough.

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Anything good enough warrants a thread of its own, if it doesn't then it's probably not good enough.

That's not true, or else we would have had a general Call of Duty thread instead of a separate one for each mind numbing entry into the series. Just to name but one example :P

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I started LOX about a month ago but coming off the back of stuff like DOS and WL2 I felt it was lacking polish. The building just being images instead of objects really put me off.

If you mean that buildings are just stylistic representations, that doesn't bother me. I suppose it's quite retro though.

I also have Lords of Xulima, but haven't started it yet. I didn't realise it was as punishing as you describe, though. It does look very nice, as you say.

I may have overrated this point since I've completed the first boss duo fairly comfortably. However, it remains the case that time = money (spent) which means that I would be surprised if I ever have more cash than I can think of uses for.

Having completed the first castle / temple I suspect the main drawback of this game is going to be sheer repetition, more or less rinse and repeat the same steps for new (and presumably more difficult) locations.

Anything good enough warrants a thread of its own, if it doesn't then it's probably not good enough.

I thought there were sufficient smaller RPG games available or coming through on all formats to make it a reasonable proposition, obviously the bigger ones will get their own threads as soon as they are announced. Time, as always, will tell.

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In this week's news:

I was enjoying LOX immensely until updating the Mac OS seemed to create all sorts of technical problems when it had been flawless :freezes and crashes galore. Well, I've been chatting with the developer over the last few days and hopefully today's update will sort things out. It really is a good game if you can accept its limitations.

I also trawled through a list of games coming out this year on RPGsite and identified a few more to keep an eye on (based on accessibility and design preferences naturally):

Serpent in the stagland (sounds like a Game of Thrones episode this one)

Deathtrap (now available on early access)

Dex (short preview in Games TM) 2D cyberpunk

Frontiers

Graywalkers

War for the Overworld (never had the privilege of playing a good Dungeon Keeper game)

hopefully more in due course.

Age of Decadance looks interesting but seems restricted to PC at present.



I saw a quick look this week of Darkest Dungeon, it looks superb really.

I'm new to this Steam lark and a part of me balks at paying £15 for an early access game when there are finished products out there which deserve attention. However, since everything goes on sale sooner or later, its one to put on the wish list for sure.

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Age of Decadence sort of got its lunch eaten by Kickstarter, it was the great white hope of grognard RPG types for years, but due to being made by one person has taken so long to come out that in the meantime Project Eternity and that other one both got funded, developed and are about to launch. I remember playing the vertical slice demo in what, 2010?

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Deathtrap is a tower defence game with RPG elements, rather than a full RPG and as I don't like TD games it's not for me. As for Age of Decadence, whilst it may be a long time coming, it doesn't preclude it from being a good game (and the EA comments suggest it is already decent.)

Out of interest, what RPGs are due this year from the traditional studios, rather than indies? Are there any?

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Durante, the Austrian responsible for various hacks to various PC ports happens to also be a big fan of CRPG/WRPGs and even the odd J-flavoured one, he started a list on his discussion forum of choice with most of the contenders in the genre being released this year, the Western stuff seems dominated by indie entries, while the Japanese stuff is still predominately corporate funded. Apart from the Polish openworld sequel being funded by the Japanese/Americans/Other publishers, everything else seems indie/crowd-funded.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=979166

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That's a good link, thanks. Are there any big-budget RPGs in the works? The only one I can think of is Mass Effect 4, which I guess is at least 18 months or so away.

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About a year ago I got into a game I haven't seen mentioned much on here called Legend of Dungeon. It's a roguelike RPG with 22 or so floors in the style of a modern shiny take on pixel graphics with nice lighting. I'm not sure if they have updated things in the latest version, but it's biggest flaw was being unable to save and return meaning that I had to dedicate hours of time to it in a single sitting, even leaving the laptop on over night just to continue. I did manage to finish it though after about a week of playing and it probably took about 7 hours.

Initially I noticed a lot of complains on little things like the awkwardness of navigating through items and being unable to work out what potions do what (as each strangely named potion swaps what effects it has each time you start). These so called flaws actually turned out to be part of the fun and added to the experience. A lot of things you pick up have to be figured out but after a while it starts to get addictively fun. The main purpose is to get to the last floor, pick up the treasure and then return back to the first floor where the inn is that you start out.

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Well, LOX has been fixed, so here's one happy bunny!

That's a good link, thanks. Are there any big-budget RPGs in the works? The only one I can think of is Mass Effect 4, which I guess is at least 18 months or so away.

Seeing that post on GAF motivated to start this thread really. The only really major WRPGs which I am aware of which are confirmed for 2015 are The Witcher 3 and ESO for consoles. On the JRPG side I'm less sure, partly through not owning a Sony console and therefore mentally discounting a lot of games which will be popular here such as Persona 5, but the big new Xenogears game has me interested.

About a year ago I got into a game I haven't seen mentioned much on here called Legend of Dungeon. It's a roguelike RPG with 22 or so floors in the style of a modern shiny take on pixel graphics with nice lighting. I'm not sure if they have updated things in the latest version, but it's biggest flaw was being unable to save and return meaning that I had to dedicate hours of time to it in a single sitting, even leaving the laptop on over night just to continue. I did manage to finish it though after about a week of playing and it probably took about 7 hours.

Initially I noticed a lot of complains on little things like the awkwardness of navigating through items and being unable to work out what potions do what (as each strangely named potion swaps what effects it has each time you start). These so called flaws actually turned out to be part of the fun and added to the experience. A lot of things you pick up have to be figured out but after a while it starts to get addictively fun. The main purpose is to get to the last floor, pick up the treasure and then return back to the first floor where the inn is that you start out.

That mechanic, of totally random scrolls and potions and other things is also used in Wazhack which I played for a while though iOS . In a way the ultra randomness seemed to work against the whole rationale of a rogue-like whereby you progress through learning from your mistakes. I have to confess I haven't yet found a rogue-like I really really like. I think I still bear the scars from almost completing Shiren the Wanderer on DS, only to fall prey to poisoned rice (this being one of the very first things you ever learn in that game, not to keep rice out of containers).

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That's a good link, thanks. Are there any big-budget RPGs in the works? The only one I can think of is Mass Effect 4, which I guess is at least 18 months or so away.

Witcher 3!

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Whilst it was going cheap last year before Valve locked down the regions/gifting I got Ravens Cry and it released last Friday on Steam. I'm a big fan of Two Worlds 2 and the DLC and was looking forward to Reality Pumps new game. Needless to say it's not even janky but outright broken in many ways :lol: Bit of a cheek charging £36 for it but hopefully within the next few months it'll be patched up and at least playable (and cheaper). Hell I don't even remember Two Worlds 2 releasing that broken, though I admittedly didn't buy that until much later.

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Yes, I've noticed the negative reaction to Raven's Cry and know that Reality Pump got saddled with taking it over from some other developer. Two Worlds II was virtually bug free on release but the UK distribution was restricted so I don't think it ever got the exposure it deserved at the time. That game had some brilliant features - changing up to three armour / weapon loadouts on the fly and creating your own spells to name but two. IIRC the only duff note was the final boss battle.

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It's not new, really, but has anyone else been playing Ancient Domains of Mystery again since it came back to life?

Still my favourite roguelike, although I haven't played any modern ones.

I see lots of games get called "roguelike" these days, are they all still ultra-hardcore, permadeath, unforgiving bastard games like they used to be or are the new ones more toned down? I can't see younger gamers being bothered to learn all the key commands you need to play something like ADOM or Nethack properly, these days.

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The term is most often used when extended to games with roguelike gameplay elements such as Spelunky and FTL. Some of them aren't even particularly hard. I prefer 'roguelite' personally for those.

For 'true' roguelike games there is a broad variety, I very much liked Dungeons of Dredmor.

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That's a good link, thanks. Are there any big-budget RPGs in the works? The only one I can think of is Mass Effect 4, which I guess is at least 18 months or so away.

Apart from BioWare, the only other major Western studio doing well enough to carry on making lavish(ish) production ones would be Bethesda, so expect one of their 2 series to receive updates within the next 2 years. Japan is down to SquareSoft, everything else coming out of Japan ain't competitive on the budget front anymore.

And of course, CDPR have their other long gestating RPG in the works:

xkH8wFX.jpg

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Proper Roguelikes, my favourites are Doom Roguelike and Brogue

http://sites.google.com/site/broguegame/home'>Brogue - traditional Rogue-esque game complete with ASCII 'graphics' but has colour.

http://doom.chaosforge.org/'>DoomRL - as the name suggests, a Doom-themed roguelike.

I did try playing the Dwarf Fortress Adventure mode recently. That's pretty heavy but it gives you a surprisingly good randomly-generated adventure inside a world you've built in Dwarf Fortress. Still has a 90-degree learning curve though.

Really should try http://www.adom.de/'>ADOM again at some point too. That's some bonkers textmode adventuring right there.

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Well, LOX has been fixed, so here's one happy bunny!

Seeing that post on GAF motivated to start this thread really. The only really major WRPGs which I am aware of which are confirmed for 2015 are The Witcher 3 and ESO for consoles. On the JRPG side I'm less sure, partly through not owning a Sony console and therefore mentally discounting a lot of games which will be popular here such as Persona 5, but the big new Xenogears game has me interested.

That mechanic, of totally random scrolls and potions and other things is also used in Wazhack which I played for a while though iOS . In a way the ultra randomness seemed to work against the whole rationale of a rogue-like whereby you progress through learning from your mistakes. I have to confess I haven't yet found a rogue-like I really really like. I think I still bear the scars from almost completing Shiren the Wanderer on DS, only to fall prey to poisoned rice (this being one of the very first things you ever learn in that game, not to keep rice out of containers).

I think I remember you talking about the poison rice thing a few years ago as it sounds familiar. With the LoD game, it took me about 7 hours to get through and back when I finally made it but just wished they'd have put a save feature in there. I had to leave the comp on a couple of times and it was a laptop I was using at work while the game was minimised. There will have been times that it's near enough impossible to get through depending on what you end up with, but there were a few times I got pretty far once I understood the general mechanics and the sort of items you'd expect to get. One thing I learned as well about that game which I only figured out late in, and which also helped me survive was the fact you are more likely to get good health potions from the glowing blocks that light up the rooms. You often get a bunch of potions from these and frequently they turned out to be health, but the peril is that it takes away the lighting around the room and that can lead to difficulties making it through if you end up with enemies about and no way of lighting the path. The more items you pick up also starts to make it an inconvenience, as the list of things to scroll through becomes larger. It was made harder by the fact you can't organise where you place items, so you have to know instinctively how many shifts through items you need to go to get to a specific potion or weapon if you need to change quickly.

Eventually I got to the last screen after getting the treasure, but the was one final room and in there were a bunch of ghosts, the bad ones (worst enemies in the game). There were loads of them and they take a ton of hits to kill and can zap your energy for fun. The only reason I survived was because of the health potions I accumulated. It wasn't until I read up after finishing the game that these only appear if you kill a kitten, so I must have summoned a bunch of aids that will have accidentally killed a cat. You don't often see them about but it's very bad news when it happens. I'm glad though because I also read something about another floor after the last one in which someone on the steam forums said they fell off the steps into a screen you can't return back. If that's the case, then it's quite possibly the most cruel possible thing Robotkitty (devs) could have done. I managed to get into top 20 or so players in the end on the big top 1000 places.

The music is really good by the way and they apparently designed it to be put together around a series of interlocking music parts which change as you press buttons that appear to do nothing, as there is a lot of that about the game. I did really get into it though in the end but stopped playing once I'd finished it.

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I knew that a new RPG was being announced yesterday from n-space and Digital Extremes; it turns out to be Sword Coast Legends based on 5th edition D&D.

https://swordcoast.com/about

At present its only announced for PC.

Dungeon master mode sounds a bit like Fable Legends.

Perhaps the interesting thing about this is that it hasn't been funded via Kickstarter, which I understand (from following Beamdog) Wizards of the Coast frown on, but rather though venture capital or similar. Doubtless this one will get it's own thread if it proves popular enough!

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Thread has truly died :( No point in just inserting links to interesting articles picked up from the likes of RPG watch since I imagine most folk are clued up to that site already.

Looking back at my list of smaller potentials from the beginning of the year it sees they have either been released unfinished scoring negative reviews (e.g Dex), not released in final version at all yet (e.g. Deeper dungeon which I'm still interested in) or not out yet.

Still keeping an eye on Serpent in the Staglands which is out at the end of the month.

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How is Massive Chalice coming along? I saw it in a 50% sale at the Humble Store the other day.

There are loads of RPGs on Steam, I must have about 30 on my wishlist, but many of them don't have any release dates and/or are Early Access titles - or have been released and are disappointing (I was looking at Dex too). Another couple I'm looking at are Kyn and BloodLust (which seems to be getting decent word of mouth).

Plus Van Helsing 3 seemed to pop-up out of nowhere the other day.

Serpent of the Staglands looks decent (and is another on my list) but, having just watched the video on Steam I worry that it might be a bit too hardcore for the sake of being hardcore. The UI (from the brief clip) looks like it might frustrate and the lack of detail in quests and the map aren't very accommodating for an a game that would be dipped in-and-out of.

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